SEASIDE, Ore. – A Newport, Ore. native is the new Miss Oregon after the woman who had been crowned in April stepped down amid questions about her residency eligibility.
Nichole Mead will now represent Oregon in the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 12, 2013.
Mead is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Communication.
“I grew up watching the Miss Lincoln County Pageant with my mother. Becoming Miss Oregon and competing at the Miss America Pageant is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. I am so honored to represent Oregon! And I am excited about promoting my platform, ‘Operation Yellow Ribbon’ to promote awareness of how civilians can support soldiers who have returned from war. I chose this platform in honor of my brother who served overseas in Iraq for 15 months. When he returned home, I wanted to do something to encourage civilians to support soldiers,” said Mead.
As Miss Oregon 2012, Mead will receive a $10,000 cash scholarship.
Rachel Berry stepped down from her position as Miss Oregon last week over questions regarding the residency requirements for the competition.
“Miss Berry was not able to prove she satisfied the residency requirement six months prior to competing in the Miss Willamette Valley pageant in April 2012,” a statement released by Dana Phillips, CEO and Executive Director for the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant said.
The rules state that a woman must be an Oregon resident for at least six months before competing in the state pageant. Berry was not available for comment to KGW, but records show that she did not get an Oregon driver's license until last January. Also, video posted from her job as a reporter with the city of Hawthorne, Calif. aired in November.
Photos: Miss Oregon 2012 contestants
Nichole Mead, 24, of Three Rivers was the first runner-up in the pageant. Kayla Bowker, 21, of Klamath County, and 18-year-old Shalese Curle of Coos County were the second and third runners up, respectively.
The Miss Oregon Pageant was started in Seaside, Oregon in 1947 and it continues to be held at the Seaside Convention Center. In 2012, between the local and state pageants, the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program made available $452,000 in cash and tuition scholarships.
The Miss America Pageant was started in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1921 and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. The Miss America Organization is a not-for profit organization that is the largest private provider of scholarship money to young women in America.